The FT has reported that Santander is seeking to be the first UK bank to use blockchain to enable its customers to make faster and cheaper international payments.
This looks to be primarily a defensive move, against the onslaught of Fintech companies seeking to snap up payments, although one that will benefit consumers and should drive competition. This sort of development should therefore be welcomed.
I suspect this will be the first of the announcements by various banks in the immediate future. It's already public knowledge that Barclays has partnered with Circle Internet Financial - a US bitcoin start-up backed by Goldmans which was the first entity to obtain one of New York State's famous BitLicences, which has also recently obtained an e-money licence in the UK.
At the moment, money transfers abroad tend to take several days, and customers cannot be sure how much money will arrive in an overseas account, as various fees are taken along the way in an opaque process. Blockchain, which has been used to support virtual currency transfers, can enable the transfer of data in a faster and more accurate way. All transactions are recorded uniquely, helping to improve fraud protection.